The Detroit Red Wings have emerged as one of the pleasant surprises of the 2021/2022 NHL season. Winners of just 36 total games over the past two seasons, the Red Wings currently find themselves in the thick of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference this time around. Much of the credit for that turnaround must go to the impressive debuts of the team’s top rookies, Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider. The duo remain in a tight three-way battle for the top of the odds to claim Calder Trophy honors as the NHL’s best rookie this season. Indeed, Raymond has quickly established himself as Detroit’s top scorer, and has been handsomely rewarded at the sportsbooks, where he has overtaken preseason favorite Trevor Zegras of the Anaheim Ducks while climbing to short +200 chalk at BetOnline.
MyTopSportsbooks takes a look at all the trends and bet bets as the race to be named this season’s top NHL rookie heats up. Sports bettors getting in on hockey action for the first time should refer to our online resources, including our Calder Trophy odds overview, and tips on how to take advantage of the best NHL hockey betting sites.
|Calder Trophy Odds|
Red Wings’ Future in Good Hands
Pegged as the betting favorite to open the season, Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras has justified the support of sports bettors by racking up 22 points through the first 25 games of the season. However, his position as the man to beat in this season’s rookie race is far from secure considering the epic season-opening performances of Detroit Red Wings teammates Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider.
Trevor Zegras has been so fun to watch this season. I put together a compilation of my favorite plays so far. Must-see TV pic.twitter.com/pHgvi31sdd
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) December 8, 2021
In addition to seizing the scoring lead in Detroit, Raymond has also matched Zegras’ early pace. Selected fourth overall by Detroit in the 2020 NHL Draft, the 20-year leads all rookies with 10 goals to date, and sits level with Zegras with 22 points through 26 games. However, with Raymond now listed as sort +200 chalk on the Calder Trophy odds, value hunting sports bettors are likely to turn their attention to Seider.
Lucas Raymond skated his way to Rookie of the Month! 🤩 pic.twitter.com/12idvkg72z
— NHL (@NHL) December 1, 2021
The top defenceman last season in the Swedish Hockey League, where he also picked up a well-earned reputation for his physical toughness, Seider has made a seamless transition to the NHL this season. In addition to leading all rookies by a wide margin in total ice, the 20-year-old German has played in all situations for the Red Wings. He has emerged as a fixture on the Red Wings power play, and has also seen his penalty kill responsibilities increase.
— IcehockeyGifs (@IcehockeyG) December 5, 2021
Those special teams assignments have not hurt his offensive production. Indeed, Seider current ranks fourth in scoring among rookies with 18 points in 26 games, outpacing two of the three rearguards that have claimed top rookie honors over the past decade.
Goaltenders Well Represented
While the spotlight has been squarely fixed on the top three in this year’s rookie class, it is tough to overlook the goaltenders making a strong case to take home top rookie honors. Jeremy Swayman currently leads the current class of netminding debutants with Calder Trophy odds as short as +750 at BetOnline. The Boston Bruins netminder is followed by Spencer Knight of the Florida Panthers, who has rocketed to a +1200 wager at BetOnline, while Detroit’s Alex Nedeljkovic has vaulted to +1800.
Jeremy Swayman stopped a career-high 42 shots tonight. pic.twitter.com/6hvOXgJMj7
— Bruins Unrestricted (@B_Unrestricted) December 3, 2021
Expected to serve as backup to recently signed goalie Linus Ullmark, Swayman has enjoyed the lion’s share of the work in Boston while racking up a sparkling 7-4-1 record with a 2.26 GAA and one shutout.
Reminder that the Carolina Hurricanes traded Calder finalist Alex Nedeljkovic for a third round pick. pic.twitter.com/U6KBIuBKHm
— Grin (@HiMyNameIsGrin) December 2, 2021
Cast off by the Carolina Hurricanes during the offseason after the club inked free agent netminders Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta, Alex Nedeljkovic is taking full advantage of the new lease on life he has been given in Detroit. The 25-year-old American has not looked back since seizing the starter’s role from veteran Thomas Greiss, going 4-1-1 while start six of the club’s past seven contests. However, with the Red Wings’ rebuild remaining a work in progress, expect Nedeljkovic to hit bumps in the road as this season progresses, and continue to take a backseat to his high-profile rookie teammates.
Spencer Knight on facing so many shots early on: “I think any goalie will tell you it’s more fun when you face more shots. It’s hard but you try not to think about what’s coming at you and just focus on you… You have to find a way to stay mentally even keeled.” #NJDvsFLA pic.twitter.com/i45Lybholz
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) November 19, 2021
Down in Florida, Spencer Knight made the most of his early-season opportunities, racking up a 4-0-1 record over his first five starts. However, barring any further injuries to veteran starter Seregi Bobrovsky, the 20-year-old is likely to be used sparingly by the Cup contending Panthers, diminishing his value at the sportsbooks.
Best Bet: Moritz Seider (+450) at Bovada